NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Maybe Gleyber Torres won’t be the answer for the Yankees this season after all.
The Bombers’ prized infield prospect entered spring training with a real chance to secure a starting job, but so far has struggled. So much so that the Yankees have reportedly secured some insurance, reaching an agreement with veteran second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $5 million contract, Yahoo! Sports first reported. The deal is pending a physical.
The Yankees’ top prospect and one of the most highly touted young talents in the game, Torres, 21, entered Monday’s action hitting just .130 (3-for-23) so far this spring. He is coming off Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow and played just 55 games last season for Trenton, the team’s Double-A affiliate, but all indications are he came into camp healthy. If he doesn’t turn things around soon there’s a good chance he’ll at least start the season in the minors.
Walker, who is entering his 10th major league season, split the 2017 campaign with the Mets and Milwaukee Brewers, hitting a combined .265 with 14 home runs and 49 RBIs in 111 games. A career .272 hitter with 130 homers and 522 RBIs, the 32-year-old can play multiple infield positions, a trait that will likely come in handy with the Yankees, who won’t shy away from exploiting their versatility.
In addition to Torres and Walker, the Yankees also have valuable utilityman Ronald Torreyes and young Tyler Wade vying for the starting second base job.
New York was considering starting rookies at both second and third, but while young hot corner hopeful Miguel Andujar is hitting .281 with four homers and nine RBIs in 11 spring games, he likely will not be named the starter by rookie manager Aaron Boone because the Yankees acquired Brandon Drury in a three-team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays back on Feb. 21. So far, Drury, 25, is hitting .304 (7-for-23) this spring.
Assuming the Yankees sign Walker, their payroll will be roughly $182 million, $15 million below the 2018 luxury tax threshold.